Consumer Watchdog Praises Judge’s Decision Rejecting Proposed Settlement In Facebook “Sponsored Stories” Privacy Settlement

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SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog praised Judge Richard Seeborg’s rejection late Friday afternoon of a proposed settlement in a class action suit against Facebook for using its users’ personal information in “Sponsored Stories” advertisements without their consent.

“This decision does much to defend the integrity of the class action process,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. “The way this deal was proposed there was no real benefit for class members.”

In his decision in Fraley v. Facebook Justice Seeborg wrote:

“In this instance there are sufficient questions regarding the proposed settlement that it would not be appropriate simply to grant the motion and postpone resolution of those issues to final approval.”

Read Settlement here:

Consumer Watchdog had opposed the settlement saying that proposed deal “is not fair, adequate or reasonable and provides no direct or indirect benefit to class members.”

“Under the proposed settlement Facebook is poised to continue to misappropriate its users’ personal information without their consent,” wrote Laua Antonini, Consumer Watchdog staff attorney in objecting to the settlement. “Indeed, Facebook recently expanded Sponsored Stories to its mobile platform, an arena where the misappropriation of personal information has far reaching and potentially dangerous consequences; the proposed settlement does not address this major expansion.”

In his order Friday Judge Seeborg raised concerns about these area of the proposed deal:

— The propriety of a settlement that provides no monetary relief directly to class members.

— The amount of  $10 million cy pres award, money going to charities. “Assuming that it may be appropriate to approve a settlement that provides for no cash distribution to class members in this case, the question will remain as to whether $10 million in cy pres recovery is fair, adequate, and reasonable,” the Judge wrote.

— The injunctive relief.

— The amount of attorney’s fees, which could total $10 million.

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John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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